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Indirect Effects of a Policy Altering Criminal Behavior: Evidence from the Italian Prison Experiment

  • Francesco Drago
  • Roberto Galbiati

We exploit the 2006 Italian prison pardon to evaluate peer effects in criminal behavior. The pardon randomly commutes actual sentences to expected sentences for 40 percent of the Italian prison population. Using prison and geographical origin to construct reference groups for former inmates, we find large indirect effects of this policy. In particular, we find that the reduction in the individuals' recidivism due to an increase in their peers' residual sentence is at least as large as their response to an increase in their own residual sentence. From this result we estimate a social multiplier in crime of two. (JEL D12, K42, Z13)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/app.4.2.199
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 199-218

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:4:y:2012:i:2:p:199-218
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.4.2.199
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